Today Underground City crossed the 35,000 mark. That’s one-third done. And a struggle every step of the way. Some days I feel I can’t do better than to just get words on the electronic page, no matter how bad they may be, so long as they advance the plot. I have eight weeks left. I must perform or I’m dead. But this isn’t entirely new–I’ve run up to the wire before.


This is the first time I have ever understood the sentiments of the “pantsers” who don’t outline because it “kills the story” for them. I feel like I’m mailing this in from Poughkeepsie. I labor for every word, every page, and have a hard time meeting the daily goal of 2,000 words/10,000 per week. It’s never been this hard before–and it’s not so much hard as annoying. I feel like I’m not saying anything new and that I’m missing even the reiteration of the good bits from before. I want to kill the whole lot of characters off. I hate them all.

And then I had a lovely little scene in the Big Picture. Which was cool and many thanks to Elisabeth who suggested it and Louise Marley who blogged the actual date in question so I could double-check.

But I still feel like I bled for every word.

Next time, I shall set my story in a fictional town, in a vaguely parallel world so I can break the laws of physics without feeling like a criminal and put the buildings where I want them and say what I like about the founding fathers and current captains of industry with impunity. And when I am done, I shall set them on fire and giggle madly as they go up in smoke.

Shall I feel bad? No, shall not. I shall have another drink and toast bread over their pyre.

Oh merry hell… I still have 80,000 words to do. Where’s a match…?

(posted under the influence.)


About Kat Richardson

Writer, editor, eccentric pain in the tail, bestselling author of the Greywalker novels.
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6 Responses to One-third

  1. Elaine says:

    Right on! (or Write on, I guess). I’m doing Script Frenzy this month. Yes, I am a pantser. I love it. At the risk of seeming trite, have you tried “The Artist’s Way”? Was a great help for me (although you may have noticed I have not published a book yet). Especially the “morning pages.” Anyway, I did really well with National Novel Writing Month, and am now editing (loosely described — I pick it up about once every two weeks) the novel. That was 50000 words in 30 days. Script Frenzy is 20000 in 30 days. I wrote for about 20 mintues June 1 and have yet to open the file again. I’m stumped. Nothing is coming. I will open the file and “just write” as soon as I finish this. Btw, those symptoms you mention (feeling I was saying nothing new, wanting to kill characters, burning the damn thing) are what I had over the 30 days. I wrote anyway. At least two scenes will probably be deleted from the final novel but I don’t care. They got me through, added to my word count and they may still be useful in some way.
    (Posted entirely too sober.)

  2. I don’t know exactly why, but I love posts like this.. No, not because you’re struggling and in pain! 😉 Seriously, it probably has something to do with that feeling of community that comes so easily to writers – both the unpublished newbies like myself, and the published-and-growing authors like you. There’s no real distinction between any of us, when it comes down to facing that blank page and bleeding those words…

    I can understand what you’re saying, strangely, even though I’ve never been there. I love the idea of having a series published but, in all honesty, I don’t think I could do 14 or 15+ volumes in the *same* series like Laurell K Hamilton (for example). I think it would kill me. So, you’re on Book 3 and struggling with your book because (I assume?) you’re writing to an agreed synopsis submitted to your editors. On the one hand, it’s my idea of writer’s heaven. But on the other… well, you can guess. *g* Well done for pushing on through, YOU CAN DO IT!

  3. You do not need to outline to “kill the story.”

    It’s really about having been with the story too long, I think. And too long is pretty subjective. How deeply immersed you are in it makes a difference to, I think.

    But that’s just my take on it, as a pantzer who refuses to entertain the thought of writing a single character series, like Anita Blake etc. One book, and can I play with a new character Muse?

  4. I’m so entirely not a morning person I doubt I’d ever do Morning Pages before Noon.

    I tend to avoid whining about the writing, since I figure it’s boring and no one actually gives a hoot, but I do occasionally want to brag or whine and I figure all writers have certain experiences so why not?

    I wasn’t intending to write a series with such a defined shape, but that’s how it’s evolved. I think that writing with elements that are not part of a reader’s everyday existence means you have to give a little more by way of background and reiteration as you go, but it has to be balanced with forward plot movement and… well… it has to be interesting. I don’t have to submit much by way of synopsis or outline to my editor, so it’s really I who am the problem–I want to keep my cake and to gobble it piggishly, too. Just gonna have to get over that, I guess.

    I think another factor in my current annoyance is that I have other story ideas wanting attention which aren’t in this series and I’d really rather be working on those, so this seems like “work” while the others seem like “play” and I want to go play. It’s summer-ish and working is just not attractive. Poop!

  5. ElaineG says:

    “Morning” is just a relative term. They should really be called “do this first thing” pages or “streams of conciousness” or …

  6. My consciousness doesn’t stream; it goes in fits and starts. 😉

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